Sources close to the now middle-aged chocolate factory owner Charlie Bucket have confirmed that he has been forced to put the entire site up for sale over a ‘huge’ inheritance tax bill. The recent death of Willy Wonka has triggered the final stage of the transfer of ownership, meaning that Mr Bucket is now faced with an estimated £200m balance to pay HMRC. 

A close friend spoke to Southend News Network earlier today. He said: ‘When the factory was originally handed over in 1972, a clause in the contract stipulated that Willy Wonka would continue as the legal owner of the factory until he death, with Charlie and his family acting as live-in and work-in tenants – this was incredibly efficient for tax reasons.’

‘No inheritance tax was due at the time because nothing had technically been passed on. However, with Mr Wonka’s very sad passing, legal ownership has now been passed over. A number of the Oompah Loompahs have already been redeployed to Adventure Island theme park.’

‘With the factory and business estimated at £1.4bn including the on-site Oompah Loompah franchise, Charlie has been put in an impossible position. The factory can’t be sold as an ongoing business as nothing has been produced there since the everlasting gobstopper had to be recalled over those nut traces.’

A spokesperson for house builder Barratt Homes confirmed that they have made a bid to purchase the site, with more than 100,000 homes planned in streets named after key moments in the original movie. 

He added: ‘What better tribute could there be to a movie that celebrates artistic creativity than creating 100,000 houses that look exactly like every other soulless shitheap in the United Kingdom. We may been get the local council to stick a mini roundabout in so that people think we genuinely give a toss.’

In a late development, Southend United bosses have confirmed interest in the chocolate factory site as a potential location for a new stadium. 

It is thought that the deal will only proceed once Cadbury’s have agreed to buy their current home at Roots Hall for redevelopment as a South Essex factory.